Thursday, October 15, 2009

Preparing For Baby's Arrival: Everything you'll need

See Abbreviated Version

It’s true – babies require a lot of stuff, but don't let the list overwhelm you.  You'll find below our comprehensive list of everything you might need before you bring baby home.  This over-exhaustive list includes items I found helpful and useful.  They aren't necessarily essential.  I referred to Baby Bargains regularly for tips on brands.

Baby’s Room

  1. Crib:  allow 5 months for delivery.  Note:  there are some beautiful cribs that you will find “special,” as we did, but you will also find that “special” cribs are not always compatible with crib toys, bumpers, etc.
  2. Rocker:  Allow 5 months for delivery.  We use our rocker (brand – “Best”) everyday for feeding and reading.
  3. Foot stool for rocker:  It is much easier to nurse and rock when your feet are propped up - particularly if your legs are on the short side.
  4. Graco Pack n’ Play:  For the first 3 weeks Henry slept in the bassinet of the Pack ‘n Play in our room.  Now we bring it on trips and visits to friends and relatives’ houses – he gets his naps and we get to leave the house.
  5. Quilted Pack ‘n Play sheet:  it softens the bedding.
  6. Ultimate Crib Sheet (2):  attaches to the crib slats, is waterproof, and lays on top of the fancy fitted sheet.  Easier to wash and replace than the fitted crib sheet.
  7. Sleep sack (2):  Halo is the go-to brand.  I like the sleeveless sacks, because baby’s long sleeved pj’s will be bulky underneath a sleeved sack.  You’ll need a spare for when you do laundry.  If you have a winter baby get the fleece.  As baby grows you can determine which size he’ll need next and what material depending on the season.
  8. Dresser:  Ikea has a great dresser.
  9. Changing table:  you can also use the dresser as a changing table.
  10. Diaper Caddy:  You’ll need diapers, wipes, and diaper rash cream at your fingertips.
  11. Changing pad:  Get a few changing pad covers.
  12. Decorate the Room:  Put up pictures of family, books, toys, etc.  Wall decals are cheap and easy to apply.  Baby will be entranced by everything around him after a couple weeks.
  13. Crib sheet, bumper, blanket set (optional luxury).  These sets are pricey.  You can buy individual crib sheets if you’re not going to use a bumper.  We put the bumper in after 4 months to prevent Henry from bumping his head into the slats.  He has never used the blanket that came with the set, but of course the sets are adorable. 
  14. Baby hangers:  25-50
  15. Hanger accessory that provides another rod for hanging.
  16. Labeled hanger separators to arrange clothes by size.
  17. Cool Mist Humidifier:  babies get really congested and have trouble expelling the goo on their own.
  18. Crib music toy
  19. Night light or dim lamp:  keeps it dim for baby when you nurse in the middle of the night or need to comfort him back to sleep.
  20. Laundry hamper:  you will be changing baby’s clothes many times a day due to spit up, poo and pee explosions.  A place other than the floor to throw soiled clothes is a good idea.  The bag that comes with the crib bedding set will be too small.
  21. Storage bins:  weaved baskets are a cute way to store toys, baby products, etc.  However, consider durability and dust.  Reisenthel storage containers have a zipper/velcro cover (keeps baby out), are collapsible and washable.
  22. Clock:  You will need a clock in view of the rocker or wherever you are nursing to keep track of the start time and length of each feeding.  One with a light that can be shut off is ideal.
  23. Log of sleep, feedings and poo/pee.  There are formal logs available.  We just a blank notebook.
  1. Baby wipes
  2. Diapers: Size N or 1.  N is the same size as 1, but leaves a dip for the umbilical cord.  The hospital uses size 1, and folds the front down.
  3. Diaper rash cream:  Boudreaux’s Butt Paste or Aveeno.  Desitin has a medicinal smell.
  4. Moisturizer (tub):  Cetaphil and Aquaphor
  5. Saline drops for congestion.  Although you can make your own, store bought saline comes in an easy to administer bottle.
  6. Bulb syringe: for use after saline.
  7. Infant Tylenol: For fever and pain relief (teething and also good for pre-medicating baby before immunizations).  Ask your pediatrician for dosing instructions.
  8. Children’s Benadryl (for allergy emergencies)  Henry had an allergic reaction to egg whites before he was eating solids – I dropped some on his face by accident.  Whoops!  Ask your pediatrician for dosing instructions.
  9. Children’s Motrin (for pain relief when baby gets older (9+ months) – better for pain relief than Tylenol)
  10. Instant Read Thermometer – practice practice practice
  11. Baby file and nail clippers:  I have to clip his nails every other day, otherwise Henry scratches himself.
  12. Hooded Bath Towel: I like the Pottery Barn Kids hooded towels.
  13. Baby bath tub
  14. Washcloths (4-8)
  15. Baby soap/shampoo in one.  Mustela foaming baby shampoo seemed to do a good job warding off cradle cap.  We like Aveeno all in one.  
  16. Soothie pacifier (2) for newborns.  Henry was off the pacifier after 3 months, but it was a lifesaver while it lasted.
  17. Toothbrush:  Summer Infant has a great 3 piece oral set
  18. Teether
  19. Hair brush: helps reduce cradle cap
  20. Q-tips: to clean around outside of ear
  21. Mustela No Rinse:  Cleaning fluid that doesn’t require water.  Wiping baby’s face constantly with washcloths can cause dry patches. 
  22. Gauze and petroleum jelly for circumcision dressing – for boys.
  23. Diaper Can:  Dekor is convenient because you don’t have to change the bag every time you take out the diapers, but you have to purchase specialty bags.  I purchased them at www.diapers.comThe Diaper Champ is a favorite, because you don’t have to purchase special bags.  
  1. Boppy vs Brest Friend?  I liked the Brest Friend for feeding.  It has better support.  The Boppy is great for tummy time, lying down at an angle, etc. 
  2. Bibs:  Soft bibs for newborns (15-20).  You will use a new one for each feeding, and using dirty bibs can cause a rash.  Bumkins bibs for solid feeding – easy to wash and dry fast.
  3. Burp cloths: disposable diapers take up little room in your bag and dry quickly
  4. Baby bottles:  3-4 4 oz bottles to start.  You may want to get 1 of each kind before you commit – some babies are particular about bottles.
  5. Bottle cleaner – has a special nipple cleaning attachment on the handle – you can find these at your grocery or convenient store.
  6. Drying rack for bottles and pump accessories.
  7. Breast Pump:  Pumping helps your milk come in faster after birth, and is great to build up a supply of milk in the freezer.  The pump in style takes 4 minutes and is convenient for travel.  
  8. Breast Pump Accessories:  Some pump kits include all the accessories you'll need, but if you not you'll need:  Medela Breast Pump Accessory Set - shields, valves, bottles.  Some people require a special breast shield size (if you have smaller or larger nipples, you may need to consider this). 
  9. Pump bottles:  I pump into Medela brand bottles and transfer the milk into milk storage bags for freezing when needed.  The bottles screw right onto the breast shields.  Careful not to over pump!  It can cause clogged milk ducts.
  10. First Years milk storage container for the freezer.  A spring pushes the milk pouches flat for efficient storage.
  11. Lansinoh Breast Pads: very absorbent
  12. Lansinoh Freezer Milk Storage Bags:  bigger than Medela storage bags, although the Medela bags have a paper sticky attachment.
  13. Lansinoh nipple ointment:  supposedly if you apply the cream before baby arrives, you can avoid cracking
  14. Nursing bras:  Mimi Maternity without underwire.  Get 2 and get measured!  You’ll need more after baby arrives, but your size will change once the milk comes in.  The bras I purchased were too small and I got clogged milk ducts – very painful.  Underwire can also cause clogged ducts.  Loose fitting clothes can help prevent clogged ducts.
  15. Nursing apron:  Bebe au lait, Hooter Hiders have cute patterns.  If you can nurse in public, you will be more likely to stick with it.  Otherwise, you will won’t feel comfortable going out.
  16. Bumbo: a great assisted sitting option before baby is ready to sit up on his own.  A tray attachment can be purchased separately.  Henry ate his first rice cereal in the Bumbo.  
  17. High chair:  Ikea has a cheap plastic seat/tray that is easy to clean and lightweight.  We have the Stokke Trip Trappe, which is nice – it grows with baby until adulthood and has baby eat at the table with the family.  However, it isn’t easy to clean, and our dining table has also suffered.
  18. I would hold off on solid feeding items until baby is ready, which won’t be until around 4-6 months.
On The Go
  1. Stroller:  Will you have 2 strollers?  1 for travel and 1 for home?  Do you have a place you can store your stroller at home so you don’t have to fold it up everyday?  If so, perhaps the convenience of the folding mechanism isn’t an important feature.  If you are small and/or weak consider size and weight.
  2. Umbrella Stroller:  I like those that recline all the way so that baby can use it from birth, plus baby can nap on the go.  We have the Inglesina Swift.
  3. Infant car seat:  some babies use their infant seats until 7-8 months.  Baby will sleep a lot, and you will often be on the go with a sleeping cherub.  The seat makes it easy to transport your sleeping baby.  Seats with a base can also be strapped in with a seatbelt when you are riding in someone else’s car.
  4. Infant car seat head support:  Baby’s head will wobble in the seat without support.  Usually people use towels, but these head supports are easier and more effective.
  5. Babba Co. Infant Car Seat Cover:  Excellent way to shield baby from the bitter cold or the hot sun in the summer. 
  6. Infant Bundle Me Bag:  Attaches to the infant car seat, keeps baby warm.  There is also a lightweight version for summer.
  7. Convertible Car Seat:  Britax is the go-to brand.  We have the Britax Boulevard – I love that I don’t have to thread the straps through to adjust – just turn a knob as baby grows.  I had it installed at a church by two burly cops for free.  The seat hasn’t budged – not even in a high way hydroplane accident.
  8. Travel convertible car seat:  We got a $50 Cosco Scenera seat.  It’s lightweight, we don’t have to remove our Britax, and it’s even great for carpooling locally.
  9. Baby Carrier:  The ERGO has much better support for you back than the Baby Bjorn, but the Bjorn has better neck support for newborns - there is an additional insert for a newborn.  It’s nice to wear baby while you do laundry, etc. 
  10. Mirror for the back seat headrest in the car.  Great to see baby while you’re driving.
  11. Window Shade for the car:  The sun will shine in baby's eyes and drive him crazy.
  12. Diaper Bag
  13. Portable Diaper Changing Pad:  Sometimes comes with the diaper bag and/or Diaper Caddy
Toys Toys Toys - newborns don't need much in the toys department
  1. Baby Gym:  Tiny Love and Fischer Price make great baby gyms.  If you have a hard floor, try putting some blankets underneath for some extra cushion.
  2. Baby Seat: motorized or not, baby will need a place to hang when you’re not holding him.  Henry outgrew his Bright Starts buzzer seat around 6 months, but still uses the Baby Bjorn seat, which he used at birth.
  3. Swing
  4. Board books:  some of our favorites:  Anything by Sandra Boynton and Dr. Seuss, Good Night Moon, The Bear Snores On.
  5. Colorful flash cards
  6. Lamaze Toys
Baby Clothes – the bare necessities – the extra is just fun!
Remember the first few months, baby will grow out of things really quickly.  Once baby’s growth plateaus (around 9 months) clothes will last a bit longer. 
  1. Pajamas:  Children’s Place and Just One Year (by Carters) have great zipper pj’s with feet.  Baby will wear them exclusively for the first few weeks – that and the hospital issue kimono shirts.
  2. Baby mittens:  to prevent scratching
  3. Many Onesies – short sleeve and long sleeve.  Layering is key in cold winter months.
  4. 3-5 pairs of pants/skirts/shorts
  5. 5-10 shirts (choose easy fit over delicate head and neck) – you will get a few hospital issue kimono shirts
  6. Socks – no need for shoes unless it’s cold (although even in the cold baby will be bundled up) or baby is crawling/walking.  Socks with tread are the best so baby can jump in your arms.

  1. Baby blankets:  we use them all the time to lay Henry down so we can read books, do tummy time, etc.  I have a blanket in every room in the apartment.
  2. Swaddle blankets:  you will get a few hospital issue.  There are swaddle me blankets, but be careful in buying too many.  Our Henry didn’t like swaddling after 2 weeks, and we gave away all his swaddle me blankets.  The hospital issue was all we needed. 
  3. Music:  we have it in every room.
  4. Books:  Baby 411 and What to Expect the First Year were my go-to books.  After reading these books, you should decide if sleep training is for you, and if so, which method you want to use.  We used Dr. Ferber’s method, and although it is a constant battle, Henry sleeps really well.
  5. Video camera:  We have a Flip HD Video recorder, and we also use our point and shoot, and which has a video feature.
  6. Dreft baby detergent or fragrance free/etc. detergent – wash all your baby clothes before baby arrives.  Don’t use dryer sheets. 
  7. Tessera Baby Book:  Keeping a record of your pregnancy experiences and baby’s firsts is a fun way to memorialize the special moments.
Mom’s Recovery
  1. Postpartum diapers for mom:  Soothae brand is great.  You can find them at your drugstore or grocery.
  2. Absorbent pads for anywhere Mom sits or lies down.
  3. Thin maxi pads for when the bleeding lightens.
  4. Take the prescribed painkillers – they work.
  5. Prepare for the giant Iron pills + prenatal vitamins if you are nursing


  1. Holy crap! When I decide that I'm mature enough for a little bugger of my own I'm happy to know I will be fully prepared with your lists. ;) Love the blog so far... keep it up!

  2. Awesome list! Yikes. Clogged milk ducts?! What does that look like exactly? Wait, no pics please! LOL. I may have to talk Derek into signing up the breast feeding. JK!

  3. Great idea for a blog, Joyce! I've jotted down a few things I want to remember. Another book I have been referenceing alongside the Baby Bargains book is the Consumer Reports Guide to baby gear- they come out with a new one every year- just in case you want another resource. Best wishes!

  4. Thank you for the useful list and blog.

  5. woooow. that's a list! Thank you, all the links were so helpful. I have an Amazon registry... so it was so easy to ADD ADD ADD. ;)